On the latest episode of BBC Radio 4’s podcast Grounded, singer Tahliah Debrett Barnett, who is better known by her stage name FKA Twigs, spoke with Louis Theroux about her ongoing legal battle against her former boyfriend, actor Shia LaBeouf. Along with giving more details about the alleged abuse she endured while with the actor, Barnett noted that after exiting from the relationship, she suffered from PTSD and panic attacks.
In an interview Barnett did with The New York Times last December, the singer announced she was suing LaBeouf for allegedly subjecting her to physical, mental, and emotional abuse during their relationship between 2018 and 2019. Amidst her account, the British-born artist said LaBeouf knowingly gave her an STD, that he didn’t allow her to look at other men in the eyes, that she was expected to give him a specific number of kisses a day, and that she often feared for her life while in the relationship due to being assaulted by him.
One of Barnett’s claims revolved around LaBeouf keeping a loaded gun beside their bed, and her fear that he might one day accidentally shoot her in the middle of the night after mistaking her for an intruder.
In a recent update, Barnett told BBC 4’s Grounded host that she wanted to highlight the warning signs she missed during the early months of her relationship to help others. They included the love-bombing phase, her partner isolating her from who she was and the people she knew, as well as him becoming “jealous” and “controlling.” Giving context as to why she experienced PTSD after the relationship, Barnett recalled often being woken up in the middle of the night with harsh allegations by LaBeouf while they were together.
“He would wake me up in the night to accuse me of all sorts of things,” the singer said. “Accuse me of staring at the ceiling and thinking about ways to leave him… accusing me of wanting to be with somebody else but it would be, always – I’d say between like four and seven in the morning.”
Following their breakup, Barnett said even the slightest sound in the middle of the night would wake her up with the potential to set off a panic attack. Detailing her post-LaBeouf life further, she discussed her struggle with PTSD after the relationship, something she thinks people don’t talk about enough when it comes to the healing that takes place after being caught up in abusive and/or toxic relationships.
“For a long time anything that woke me up in the night, even if it was just my dog, or a noise outside, or just needing to go to the bathroom, it could trigger a really intense panic attack,” she shared. “I was left with PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] from that, which again, is just something that I don’t think we really talk about as a society just in terms of the healing when leaving, and how much work that has to be done to recover to get back to the person that you were before.”
You can listen to Barnett and Theroux here, with the most recent interview starting at the 45-minute mark.